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November 30, 2012 1:32 pm

Christian Groups Seek to Reconcile With Jews Over Anti-Israel Letter

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Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Among Christian and human rights group leaders who met Thursday in Washington, D.C. to support fellow Christian leaders who had sent a letter asking Congress in October to investigate U.S. aid to Israel, some have expressed a desire to reconcile with Jewish groups outraged by the letter.

Groups such as the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship and the Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace also came to the meeting to showcase tens of thousands of petition signatures they had gathered in support of the investigation request. Many cited the higher number of casualties among Palestinians than among Israelis in the conflict between the two as an example of how Israel misuses U.S. aid money.

But Rabbi Noam Marans, the interfaith director at the American Jewish Committee, said that many don’t “differentiate between Palestinian terrorists who target civilians and Israeli military that employs extraordinary restrictions to avoid inadvertent damage to civilians while targeting terrorists,” according to the Religion News Service.

Those attending church leaders who had also signed the October letter have nevertheless accepted an invitation from Jewish members for a summit meeting on the issue, though no date has been set. “We regret any distancing it put between us and our Jewish partners and we hope we can close that gap,” said The Rev. Gradye Parsons, the top official of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. who did not attend the Thursday meeting.

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